Exploring Arapahoe Basin: A Guide to Colorado’s Premier Ski Destination


Thanks to its high elevation, incredible terrain, and frequent snowstorms, Arapahoe Basin has earned its reputation as a top winter destination. It has one of the longest ski seasons in North America.

With fantastic terrain, stunning alpine scenery, and vibrant local culture, Arapahoe Basin offers an unbeatable Colorado ski experience. Whether you’re an expert skier or a family of newbies, A-Basin welcomes you with open arms to create lasting memories this winter season. This article will provide an in-depth guide to experiencing the very best A-Basin ski area has to offer. Let the adventures begin!


  • A-Basin is renowned for its high altitude, varied terrain, and long season from October to June.
  • In addition to world-class skiing and riding, the area offers stunning scenery, local culture, and a variety of winter activities.
  • Excellent lodging deals and resort packages make vacationing here easy and affordable, especially compared to top-ranking Colorado ski resorts like Vail.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the slopes, the Arapahoe Basin ski area exudes High Country charm with its local artisans, eateries, and community events. After skiing, grab a bite to eat from the legendary Moonlight Deli or browse the unique gifts at the A-Frame gift shop. Don’t miss annual traditions like the Beach Party on the Basin in July or a scenic Snowcat Dining tour under the stars. Exploring the local flavor here forges fond memories that will last a lifetime.

Local Cuisine

Moonlight Deli’s piled-high sandwiches and Black Mountain Lodge’s fresh-baked cookies are not to be missed. Slope-side bars and eateries like Black Mountain Tavern, 6th Alley Bar and Grill, and Mountain Goat Plaza are great dining options. Whether you’re looking for something casual or more upscale, the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has you covered.

Cultural Events

With its live music and craft beer, The Beach Party on the Basin is one way to steep yourself in local culture. You can also take a guided wilderness tour that highlights the ski area’s mining history. In addition, you have the option to do a Snowcast Dining dinner tour and a meet-and-greet with professional skiers.

Winter Sports in Arapahoe Basin

From gentle groomers to steep chutes across 1,428 acres for skiing and riding, A-Basin’s terrain offers an adventure for all abilities. Take skiing or snowboarding lessons from certified instructors, with adult and child group lessons starting at $175 per person. You can also rent quality demo skis and snowboards starting at $50 per day. rent the latest gear from on-site shops, and make the most of A-Basin’s long season with discounted multi-day lift tickets from $99 per day when purchased in advance.

Families can delight in the easy cruising trails off Lenawee Face while experts may test their skills on the legendary Pallavicini and East Wall runs. Whether you prefer the deep powder of the Back Bowls or the challenge of technical moguls, endless thrills await on the mountain. The ski resort also offers over six miles of scenic trails with varied terrain for hiking and snowshoeing.

Lodging Deals and Packages

With a variety of accommodation options including hotels, condos, cabins, and vacation rentals, the A-Basin area offers great value for price. Take advantage of stay-and-ski packages that bundle discounted lift tickets with lodging, or choose local favorites like the Ski Tip Lodge and Black Mountain Lodge located right at the mountain’s base. Whether you prioritize convenience, amenities, or cozy ambiance, you’ll find suitable lodging to match your needs and budget.

Slopeside rentals start at $150 per night, and hotels in nearby towns start at $100 per night.

Lodging and lift tickets are from $250 per person per night at participating locations.

For bonus amenities at select properties, guests can enjoy complimentary ski valet, breakfast, Wi-Fi, and hot tubs.

Outdoor Adventures

When you need a break from the slopes, A-Basin serves up scenic snowshoeing trails, ice-fishing spots, and prime terrain for heart-pumping winter sports like backcountry skiing, fat biking, and more. Local outfitters like A-Basin Sports offer guided tours and gear rentals to experience the area’s backcountry safely. Meanwhile, the resort’s tubing hill and sledding area promise old-fashioned family fun. From moonlit snowcat tours to ski-in backcountry yurts, A-Basin’s outdoor adventures are plenty.

Family Winter Vacations

With kid-friendly amenities and activities, A-Basin shines when it comes to family vacations. Children twelve and under always ski free with the purchase of an adult lift ticket, while amenities like the Cubs Child Care Center allow parents to take turns on the slopes. Be sure to take advantage of Kids Ski Free days. Families flock to beginner-friendly areas like Lenawee Mountain’s green runs in the west bowl, and the resort’s sledding hill and tubing area promise endless entertainment for all ages. Round out the fun with apres-ski cocoa and pizza parties on the mountain to create cherished memories.

Festivals and Events

A-Basin knows how to keep things exciting all season with fun, themed events almost every month. Kick things off at Opening Day celebrations in October, enjoy Closing Day Festivities, and then return for the annual Beach Party on the Basin in July with live music, bikini skiing contests, and more. Other beloved traditions include New Year’s Eve fireworks and Torchlight Parade, a midwinter Mardi Gras parade and party, a St. Patrick’s Day Party, a Pond Skimming Championships, Retro ’80s day, and demo days showcasing next year’s gear. From silly costumes and contests to fireworks extravaganzas, A-Basin’s lively events add to the area’s unique culture.

Après-Ski Activities

After an exhilarating day hitting the slopes, A-Basin offers plenty of options for relaxing those weary muscles. Sip craft brews on the sunny patio at the Black Mountain Lodge’s Black Mountain Tavern, then refuel on hot pizza or tacos at the Mountain Goat Plaza. For more entertainment, catch live music at the 6th Alley Bar and Grill or go for a twilight snowcat tour and gourmet dinner. End your evening soaking in one of the large hot tubs available at many nearby lodges and vacation rentals.


What is there to do at A-Basin in the summer?

While winter is the main attraction, don’t overlook summer! A-Basin hosts concerts, festivals, and weddings on its scenic outdoor event lawn each summer. Other options include scenic lift rides, hiking, mountain biking, and wildflower viewing.

What is the best time of year to visit A-Basin?

The long season from October to June makes any time ideal, but powder hounds flock here in March and April for the abundant snowfall. For smaller crowds and lower prices, target midweek in January or May.

What is the closest airport to A-Basin?

Denver International Airport is just over 100 miles away, making it the preferred airport for most travelers. Shuttle services and rental cars provide easy transport to the mountain.

What lodging options are closest to the A-Basin slopes?

For true ski-in/ski-out access, the Ski Tip Lodge and Black Mountain Lodge sit at the base. Other options like the Double Tree by Hilton are located just a mile from the slopes. Many lodging properties offer hot tubs, spas, and massage services.

Does A-Basin offer lessons and rentals?

Yes! Group and private lessons are available for all ages and abilities. The resort also provides a full rental shop stocking skis, boards, boots, helmets, goggles, and more.

What is the steepest inbound ski run at Arapahoe Basin and also in Colorado?

Gauthier is the steepest inbound ski run at A-Basin and in Colorado.

Does Arapahoe Basin offer more challenging lift skiing than Colorado ski resorts like Breckenridge and Steamboat?

Yes, overall, A-Basin is known to be more challenging than other ski areas and has considerable expert terrain. However, it’s important to note that it also offers terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers so that everybody in your party can safely enjoy the mountain and its deep snow, lovingly referred to by locals and avid skiers as “powder.”

How can I find a snow report for the Arapahoe Basin?

It’s easy to find updated snow reports for the mountain. All you have to do is check out an online snow report to learn about A-Basin’s snowfall, weather, terrain, and forecast. The snow report will reveal detailed information like the current snow depth and the last snowfall date.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.